Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Who is your daughter's role model?

Ok, our family has four shows we watch together, as a family, and never miss (thank goodness for DVR). Bones, House, Chuck, and Big Bang Theory. Last night it was just us girls, my husband had a business dinner, so Emma and I watched this week's episode of Chuck again. (If you are not familiar with this show, a brief summary: everyday, average guy gets CIA super-spy stuff in his head and gets two handlers to make him a spy. Handlers are Adam Baldwin [by far the best Baldwin] and a beautiful strong blonde, Sarah.) As the episode was finishing, I took Sophie to her room to change her diaper and soon Emma was at my side, excited at the ending. She was jumping around in the way wound up kids do, and our dogs were in the doorway getting all excited, too. She starts playing with our Pointer, and I heard "I'm going to go all Chuck on you! Nevermind, I'm going to go all SARAH on you! Hiiiiiii-yah!" She kept jumping around, fake kung-fu fighting the dog, and kept repeating "See? I'm all Sarah on you! You can't get me!"

I love that she loves this show, and Sarah's character. The main character, Chuck, likes the spy world. He has worked at a dead-end retail job since being unfairly expelled from Stanford where he was top in his class. But, he refuses to carry a real gun, kill people, or let the assignments take away from his life with his family and friends. Oh, and still gets the girl :) But also, the female leads are both wonderful for her to see - Chuck's sister, a brilliant doctor, and Sarah, who kicks butt regularly. Neither one defer to their male counterparts but treat themselves (and hence are treated by others) as equals.

So Emma's playing around last night, combined with a tweet I received this morning, really got me to thinking about the new female role models and who I want my daughter to look up to. I mentioned Bones as one of our can't miss shows - the main character there, Temperance Brennan, is on that list. Genius scientist AND bestselling author? Yes, please!

Here are a few others I like:

Mellody Hobson, financial contributor on Good Morning America

Sandra Bullock, Oscar winner, adoptive mom, handles things with class. Oh, and doesn't party like crazy and show her undies (or lack of)

Robin Roberts, Good Morning America anchor. She's tall, smart, athletic, and relatable.

Selena Gomez - Emma's already a fan. Cute, sweet, Disney star. Acts, sings, designer, philanthropist, dog rescuer.

Emma Watson - Hermione! Also scholar, humanitarian, and model.

Danica McKellar - Remember Winnie from The Wonder Years? Yeah, she's a math genius. She has also authored two books to encourage girls with math.

Then there's the "real-life" role models: moms, teachers, local business owners, pastors, the women in our community who aren't afraid to take charge and make a change for the better.

So who do you want your daughters to look up to and admire?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Music to (in) our ears

Maybe I'm getting old, or am just becoming more aware of what my daughter hears, but I've really started paying attention to the lyrics of songs lately as Emma and I listen to the radio in the car. It really started a few years ago with that horribly annoying song about "Superman" but not the superhero - the really gross, disgusting thing apparently young men like to do to their partners in bed. Remember that song? Soulja Boy was the artist. It was everywhere, even played at Emma's school at an outdoor PTO event. Here are the lyrics. Yeah, my daughter's elementary school was playing this for the kids.

Recently, I've seen a lot of criticism of Lady Gaga's work. I know we live in the Bible Belt, and am myself a practicing Christian, albeit a more liberal one. I'm more of the "live and let live and let's all love each other and get along" mindset than the "my way is the only way, change your way or you're going to Hell" mindset. I know many people of the second persuasion, though. A couple weeks ago someone on my Facebook friends list whom I went to school with posted a rant about her music, mainly her videos. Granted, they are out there. These aren't your standard pre-reality show MTV 3-minute bubblegum videos. Her videos tend to follow the Thriller-esque, mini-movie productions, but more avant garde. This person's complaints were that the videos were available online and his kids could find them and watch them and be exposed to a naked female body (I'm sure his daughter knows what girl parts look like) and that Lady Gaga has admitted that she likes both girls and boys. You know what? Elton John is gay, too, and no one criticizes his music. But that's another topic all together...

I have Lady Gaga's first CD, and most of the songs from the second. I love them. Emma loves them. And you know what? She can listen to them all she wants! I've listened to them, I've read the lyrics in the CD liner. Nothing is objectionable. Lady Gaga has said that some songs have different meanings, but there is no way to get that from the songs themselves. And as for the online availability? Someone apparently needs to teach his children rules for the computer and know how to check out where they visit while in Internetland. And does he really think that's the worst thing out there?? Then he really needs to get out more.

On the other hand, there is Rihanna. I like her music, too. It's catchy, it's fun to sing along with, and she's just adorable. And after the Chris Brown incident last year, the whole country is in love with her. Sunday her song "Rude Boy" came on the radio as Emma and I were going to my parents' house for Easter dinner. Here is what we heard: Come here rude boy, can you get it up? Come here rude boy, are you big enough?

Like that's subtle. I'm sure most parents really don't want to hear "What is she talking about?" and have to answer that.

My point isn't even that these songs are out there, really. Like I said, I'm pretty liberal about a lot of things. And I like Rihanna, that's not the point either. It's the perception, I guess, that gets to me. People are shocked by the performance and assume the music is just as provocative, or remember the vulnerability of last year and assume the music is innocent. It's the judgments that get to me, I guess.

Just pay a bit more attention to what is put in our kids' heads. And if you don't agree with something they listen to, talk to them about why. But PLEASE have a better reason than "I don't like the video" or "that person is homosexual." Be a bigger person than that.